In a recent diplomatic developments between Cambodia and Myanmar, the issue of the recent confinement of Aung San Suu Kyi has come to the fore. The Foreign Minister of Cambodia, Prak Sokhonn, has urged Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC) to release Suu Kyi. Sokhonn is not only the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation but also serves as ASEAN’s chair as special envoy to Myanmar. It is to be noted here that Suu Kyi was transferred from house arrest in Naypyidaw to a much harder confinement facility last week. The solitary confinement facility is located in a wing of the capital’s prison, which is known for its strict and rigid protocols.
The Foreign Ministry of Cambodia issued an official statement, in which Sokhonn stated, “I have no doubt that the same concern resonates beyond ASEAN, considering that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is regarded internationally and by many in Myanmar as having a critical role in your country’s return to normalcy and national reconciliation through a peaceful political solution.” He also expressed deep disappointment at the government’s decision to transfer Suu Kyi to the harsh solitary confinement facility.
Sokhon appealed to the various parties that are sharing the conflict in Myanmar to come forward and look for a path towards peaceful resolution. He laid special emphasis on his appeal to the SAC to reach reconciliation at the earliest. He expressed his belief that the negotiations must be all-inclusive and address the interests of all parties involved.The details of his statement are drawn from the press release issued by the ministry on the 27th of June.
Sokhon, along with his colleagues at ASEAN, has condemned SAC’s move to restrict Suu Kyi to solitary confinement and has urged the authorities to send her back to house arrest. Sokhonn also stated that Suu Kyi has international recognition and that this issue would resound beyond the realms of the ASEAN. He mentioned Suu Kyi’s vital role in Myanmar and how she revolutionised the country and enabled it to return to normalcy. He also wrote a letter to SAC’s appointed foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin. Here he urged the country’s governing body to also include Suu Kyi in talks leading to national reconciliation and a peaceful political solution.
Sokhonn referred to ‘humanitarian grounds’ and urged the SAC to show some compassion. He highlighted the fact that Suu Kyi was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and she deserves to be treated well. Suu Kyi has also been suffering from ill-health off lately and thus Sokhonn urged SAC to extend fair and judicious practice of law.
He also wrote, “We all share the view that peaceful national reconciliation cannot be effectuated when one party to the conflict is taken out of the resolution equation.” Therefore, all our Asean colleagues strongly encourage the [SAC] to begin an inclusive process of national reconciliation without further delay. A peaceful political resolution to a conflict, no matter how complex it is, must involve the sharing of political space by all those involved.
Sokhonn also confirmed that he would visit Myanmar in July and that it would be his second trip there as the bloc’s special envoy. He also shared his concern over the possibility of SAC beginning the execution of opposition members. He said if it reaches that stage, it would be a great cause of concern and it would also hamper Myanmar’s chances of returning to full participation in the ASEAN bloc. Cambodia has been supporting Myanmar’s full participation in the ASEAN bloc.